In many industries, business trips come with the territory for a lot of employees. In the wake of globalization, business trips no longer mean simply travelling within Germany or to neighbouring countries but also further afield to countries such as China. We at the law firm GRP Rainer Rechtsanw?lte note that according to a ruling of the LAG Baden-W?rttemberg from September 6, 2017 (Az.: 4 Sa 3/17)), an employer is able to order these kinds of business trips by virtue of its executive prerogative if the "versprochene Dienste", i.e. the promised services, set out in the employment contract pursuant to sec. 611 para. 1 of the B?rgerliches Gesetzbuch (BGB) [Germany"s Civil Code] can naturally be associated with occasional foreign assignments.
The case before the LAG concerned an engineer who had been employed for about 30 years at a machine manufacturer and was rarely sent on business trips, and on those rare occasions only to countries nearby. However, he was then made to travel to China. From the employee"s point of view, the hotel, service and location of the accommodation left much to be desired. He viewed the trip as a form of victimization by his employer and brought a legal action to prevent his employer from being allowed to send him on business trips abroad, at least not to distant countries.
The LAG dismissed the claim, stating that although an employee need not accept intolerable accommodation while abroad, he can be sent on business trips. Moreover, the employer can set out in more detail the working hours, places of work and what the work entails as it reasonably sees fit as long as no contractual or collectively agreed provisions preclude this. The Court held that in this case the employer"s right to issue instructions in relation to the place of work was not limited by the employment contract due to the lack of a clear provision on this issue. The fact that the work owed by the engineer was not limited to a single location was said to be evident from a provision in the employment contract concerning compensation for travel expenses. The LAG went on to say that this kind of arrangement made no sense in the absence of an obligation to go on business trips, and gave leave to appeal.
When it comes to matters pertaining to the workplace or drafting employment contracts, lawyers who are experienced in the field of employment law can offer advice.
GRP Rainer LLP www.grprainer.com/en/ is an international firm of lawyers and tax advisors who are specialists in commercial law. The firm counsels commercial and industrial companies and corporations, as well as associations, small- and mid-sized businesses, self-employed freelancers and private individuals worldwide from offices Cologne, Berlin, Bonn, Dusseldorf, Frankfurt, Hamburg, Munich, Stuttgart and London UK.
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